« 上一頁繼續 »
Page. Art. VIII. Abstract of the Bill for Establishing Courts of Local
Jurisdiction. Ordered by the House of Commons
IX. Memoirs, Correspondence, and Private Papers of Tho
mas Jefferson, late President of the United States;
X. Library of C'seful Knowledge. Farmer's Series. Trea-
XI. Researches into the Origin and Affinity of the Principal
Languages of Asia and Europe. By Lieutenant-
XII. The Country without a Government; or, Plain Ques
tions upon the Unhappy State of the Present Admi-
Notice respecting Mr Brougham's Speech in the House of Commons, on the 13th July, on Colonial Slavery,
Art. I.-The Law of Population : a Treatise in Six Books, in
Disproof of the Superfecundity of Human Beings, and develop-
W E did not expect a good book from Mr Sadler ; and it is
well that we did not; for he has given us a very
mists and anti-populationists! Population, if not proscribed
VOL, LI. NO, CH.
• cruel system, really does press against the level of the means of
subsistence, and still elevating that level, it continues thus • to urge society through advancing stages, till at length the • strong and resistless band of necessity presses the secret spring • of human prosperity, and the portals of Providence fly open, 6 and disclose to the enraptured gaze the promised land of con• tented and rewarded labour.'- These are specimens, taken at random, of Mr Sadler's eloquence. We could easily multiply them; but our readers, we fear, are already inclined to cry for mercy.
Much blank verse and much rhyme is also scattered through these volumes, sometimes rightly quoted, sometimes wrongly, — sometimes good, sometimes insufferable,-sometimes taken from Shakspeare, and sometimes, for aught we know, Mr Sadler's
• Let man,' cries the philosopher, take heed how he • rashly violates his trust;' and thereupon he breaks forth into singing as follows:
• What myriads wait in destiny's dark womb,
Rolls to its Ocean fount, and rests in God.' If these lines are not Mr Sadler's, we heartily beg his pardon for our suspicion-a suspicion which, we acknowledge, ought not to be lightly entertained of any buman being. We can only say, that we never met with them before, and that we do not much care how long it may be before we meet with them, or with any others like them, again.
The spirit of this work is as bad as its style. We never met with a book which so strongly indicated that the writer was in a good humour with himself, and in a bad humour with every body else ;- which contained so much of that kind of reproach which is vulgarly said to be no slander, and of that kind of praise which is vulgarly said to be no commendation. Mr Malthus is attacked in language which it would be scarcely decent to employ respecting Titus Oates. • Atrocious,' execrable, • blasphemous,' and other epithets of the same kind, are poured forth against that able, excellent, and honourable man, with a profusion which in the early part of the work excites indignation; but, after the first hundred pages, produces mere weariness and
In the preface, Mr Sadler excuses bimself on the plea of baste. Two-thirds of his book, he tells us, were written in a few months. If any terms have escaped bim which can be construed into personal disrespect, he shall deeply regret that he had not more time to revise them. We must inform him that the tone of his book required a very different apology;-and that a quarter of a year, though it is a short time for a man to be engaged in writing a book, is a very long time for a man to be in a passion.
The imputation of being in a passion Mr Sadler will not disclaim. His is a theme, he tells us, on which ó it were impious "to be calm ;' and he boasts that instead of conforming to the
candour of the present age, he has imitated the honesty of pre• ceding ones, in expressing himself with the utmost plainness
and freedom throughout.' If Mr Sadler really wishes that the controversy about his new principle of population should be carried on with all the license of the seventeenth century, we can have no personal objections. We are quite as little afraid of a contest in which quarter shall be neither given nor taken as he can be. But we would advise him seriously to consider, before he publishes the promised continuation of his work, whether he be not one of that class of writers who stand peculiarly in. need of the candour which he insults, and who would have most to fear from that unsparing severity which he practises and recommends.
There is only one excuse for the extreme acrimony with which this book is written, and that excuse is but a bad one. Mr Sadler imagines that the theory of Mr Malthus is inconsistent with Christianity, and even with the purer forms of Deism. Now even had this been the case, a greater degree of mildness and self-command than Mr Sadler has shown would have been becoming in a writer who had undertaken to defend the religion of charity. But in fact, the imputation which has been thrown on Mr Malthus and his followers, is so absurd as scarcely to deserve an answer. As it appears, however, in almost every page of Mr Sadler's book, we will say a few words respecting it.
Mr Sadler describes Mr Malthus's principle in the following words:
It pronounces that there exists an evil in the principle of population; an evil, not accidental, but inherent; not of occasional occurrence, but in perpetual operation; not light, transient, or mitigated, but productive of miseries, compared with which all those inflicted by human institutions, that is to say, by the weakness and wickedness of man, however instigated, are “ light:” an evil, finally, for which there is no remedy save one, which had been long overlooked, and which is now enunciated in terms which evince any thing rather than confidence. It is a principle, moreover, preeminently bold, as well as “ clear.” With a presumption, to call it by no
fitter name, of which it may be doubted whether literature, heathen or Christian, furnishes a parallel, it professes to trace this supposed evil to its source, “ the laws of nature, which are those of God;" thereby implying, and indeed asserting, that the law by which the Deity multiplies his offspring, and that by which be makes provision for their sustentation, are different, and, indeed, irreconcilable.'
• This theory,' he adds, • in the plain apprehension of the • many, lowers the character of the Deity in that attribute, which, 'as Rousseau has well observed, is the most essential to him, his 'goodness; or otherwise, impugns his wisdom.'
Now nothing is more certain than that there is physical and moral evil in the world. Whoever, therefore, believes, as we do most firmly believe, in the goodness of God, must believe that there is no incompatibility between the goodness of God and the existence of physical and moral evil. If then the goodness of God be not incompatible with the existence of physical and moral evil, on what grounds does Mr Sadler maintain that the goodness of God is incompatible with the law of population laid down by Mr Malthus ?
Is there any difference between the particular form of evil which would be produced by over-population, and other forms of evil which we know to exist in the world? It is, says Mr Sadler, not a light or transient evil, but a great and permanent evil.- What then? The question of the origin of evil is a question of ay or no,—not a question of more or less. If any explanation can be found by which the slightest inconvenience ever sustained by any sentient being can be reconciled with the divine attribute of benevolence, that explanation will equally apply to the most dreadful and extensive calamities that can ever aillict the human race. The difficulty arises from an apparent contradiction in terms; and that difficulty is as complete in the case of a headach which lasts for an hour, as in the case of a pestilence which unpeoples an empire,–in the case of the gust which makes us shiver for a moment, as in the case of the hurricane in which an Armada is cast away.
It is, according to Mr Sadler, an instance of presumption unparalleled in literature, heathen or Christian, to trace an evil to
the laws of nature, which are those of God,'as its source. Is not hydrophobia an evil ? And is it not a law of nature that hydrophobia should be communicated by the bite of a mad dog? Is not malaria an evil? And is it not a law of nature, that in particular situations the human frame should be liable to malaria? We know that there is evil in the world. If it is not to be traced to the laws of nature, low did ii come into the world? Is it supervalutal? And if we stippone It to be sipernatural, is not the